5 Ways to Empower Girls to Become Leaders

Daily, girls are faced with a plethora of challenges. To be given the confidence and control, one must go through personal development and acquire skills that are nurtured and encouraged.

Women in history have faced adversity and demonstrated resilience. Educational experiences for women are completely different than those of men and the opportunities for leadership training haven't always been as prevalent. The role that women play in our society has changed over the years, but many educators still wonder how to empower girls of all ages.

Educators, parents, and role models play an important role in helping these young women to navigate the challenges of being a teenager. It can be a confusing time when facing the pressures of social norms, family, self-care. 

Here are 5 ways to empower girls to become leaders to ensure that you’re providing them with the best opportunities:

1. Welcome Diverse Interests and Talents
The gender gap for trades and STEM-related fields is still apparent. Historically, girls have been encouraged to pursue careers in clerical, teaching, or nursing. The idea of pursuing trades or STEM as a career is still under-represented, which translates into the loss of a critical mass of talent, thoughts and ideas.

In order to provide equal opportunities to all, adults in any capacity can encourage girls to explore their interests and talents, no matter what field it may be in. 

2. Collaborate with Parents
According to Psychology Today, parents exert enormous influence over their child’s lives. The same goes for teachers who are a large part of the child’s life. Setting good examples, healthy habits, and modeling good character can go a long way in helping students with their personal development.

Parents and teachers must be careful of what kid of influence they are depicting. For example, a mother is an ultimate example for a young daughter. She must be cautious not to overly-criticize her daughter’s appearance, as it might dampen her self-esteem.

Teachers and role models can do their best to share resources with parents, guiding them through leadership training, reminding them about the influence that they bring in their daughters’ life. Resources like these videos from Girls Leadership can help to support girls.

3. Introduce Female Role Models
Exposing girls to other female role models at school or within the community helps improve the perception of female leaders in their environment. It can also weaken the typical stereotypes found in society.

Teachers in the classroom are a great example of female role models who are easily accessible. They hold great influence and are able to model and have discussions about successful women.

Schools may have career days or exploration days that allow students to connect with a professional in an industry. Other community opportunities might include volunteering, shadowing, or participating in a community program. Successful women in business, science, technology, creative industries, government, or educational institutions are great examples that display high achievement and leadership.

4. Give Them a Voice to Speak Up
Encouraging girls to play an active role in a cause they are passionate about can bring about powerful confidence as well as leadership training. Helping them feel safer about their surrounding environment, create a culture of change, and create opportunities to practice essential leadership and advocacy skills.

Simple things like having a discussion about things they care about, encouraging involvement in a cause they care about by donating their time, or collaborating with other non profit organizations could benefit them greatly.

5. Teach Healthy Ways to Navigate the Internet (Media)
Child Mind Institute says that girls are more vulnerable to the downsides of social media and the media. Things like lowered self-esteem, identifying their self-worth, and being bullied online are major concerns. These types of things increase the anxiety that girls have and jeopardizes the positive impacts that they can make.

Adults can focus on different ways to help. For example, things like practicing technology-free zones and times within the household can help establish healthy interactions and aid in personal development. Parents can also help educate their child about online safety, cyberbullying/cyberstalking, the truth about the media and advertising, and online protections.

Lastly, parents and teachers can help girls build confidence through helping them identify things that they can do that make them feel better, not necessarily focusing on how they look.

Take a look at these other resources:
Internet Safety for Parents
Girls Who STEM
Eight Reasons to Empower Girls in School
What Works to Empower Girls to Lead
The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence

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